A story of lives, love, and culture shared as told by Annette Leahy Maggitti, Homesharing pioneer and veteran.
The following is an excerpt from the Homesharing Newsletter: Fall 2002.
There are some people who are just made for homesharing, and Shirley is just that kind of person. A vibrant woman in her 70’s, she had recently purchased her home and wanted to share it. Shirley is respectful of life and the environment, and she thought it unfair to have a three-bedroom home and have only one bedroom being used! On a fixed income, the extra money would certainly help, and being a gregarious, open individual, it was only natural that she would want some companionship.
Her flexibility was probably her greatest asset when it came to homesharing. She wanted a respectable person whom he could trust, but culture, race, age and status meant absolutely nothing to her. In the five years she has been with us, she has had 6 homesharers, the latest was with Yong, the subject of this not so usual match!
Yong came from China and enrolled in the International Business Program at the University of Baltimore. In the student housing guide, St. Ambrose was listed. He wanted a quiet, peaceful place to live and work. Shirley welcomed him as she had with all of her former housemates. She had hosted Korean students, Indian contract workers and American youngsters making the break from living under their parents’ roof. Yong knew from the first interview with Shirley that this was the place for him. They shared their culture and interests. He prepared Chinese dumplings and she introduced him to American sweets!
Almost a year into their time together, a colleague of Yong’s needed a place to “hang her hat,” and Shirley had a very small room that she was willing to rent. Yong and his friend, who at the time were “just friends”, became more enamored of each other and announced that they had decided to get married.
They asked Shirley to be one of their witnesses. She was thrilled beyond words! Shirley hosted a reception at her home, combining American culture and food with Chinese decorations and delicacies. Neighbors, friends, students, professors, family members and St. Ambrose staff, the initial matchmakers, celebrated another success!